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The Trouble With Trends

Design trends are trendy. Until they're not.

We have seen this with shiplap.

Remodelista: Cottage in Maine

Traditionally, shiplap was for homes in challenging climates such as coastal areas or forests for instance. Even then, it was used on the exterior of the home to protect against the harsh weather. When we think of a home that might have an authentic shiplap look on the interior, we picture an old farmhouse, cottage, or maybe a cabin. While these boards were not originally meant to be exposed, today we see it as charming and quaint. It adds historical character and a rustic feel. The shiplap in the Cottage in Maine that is pictured feels appropriate, charming and perfect.

There is no reason for shiplap to be "in or out." However, due to the sudden popularity in the past decade and everyone rushing to install it, it has quickly become overdone.

Overdone look that lacks authentic shiplap character

The shiplap look that has popped up in homes, regardless of anything other than it was a trend the homeowner likes (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with liking design trends...), is fleeting and doesn't have the same effect. The two bathroom images pictured are stark contrasts when viewed together.

Shiplap should be a design choice that is timeless and appropriate with the right client and in the correct house. In a sense it still is, but for the above stated reason it is difficult to not see shiplap and equate it with "dated" trendy fad.

You've probably also noticed a copious amount of vertical "shiplap" or planks the past few years. I believe the vertical boards look good too, but like its horizontal sister design, it depends on the home. After a trend has been done to death, we like to reinvent it and freshen it up without completely getting rid of the aesthetic. Again, this is less about the trend's intrinsic value as a legitimate design option and more about how quickly we tire of something as a society.

Our attention spans are quite short!

This is why it is important to understand what you really love AND what is in keeping with your home's architecture. Imagine if everyone did this when they designed their homes. We would have homes with:

  1. Authentic character

  2. Higher value

  3. Happier homeowners

  4. Less waste

  5. Not having to wonder what is "in or out"

I think homes like these sound pretty great!

Actually, the vertical has been around long enough that something else is getting ready to emerge. Maybe there will be a push to go back to traditional moldings or smooth bare walls.

What do you think the next wall trend will be?

P.S. If you read this post title with the word "tribbles" instead of trends, we can maybe be best friends.


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Meet Christa

Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by interiors. When I was very young, I used to draw floorplans on napkins at restaurants and always wanted more Legos (Barbie? No, thank you. But I'd have gladly redesigned her Malibu Mansion). And when my friends came over to play "house," all I did was find ways to redecorate and knock out walls.


I'm not so young anymore, but I still love interiors. And I can't remember what I did yesterday, but I still remember exactly what my Aunt Susan's cabinets and wallpaper looked like in 1984.  

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